Australia is The Hunger Games arena of the global ecosystem.
Evolution is purported to be the result of random gene mutations, yet it really does seem like a higher power hand-picked our native species, armed them with biological weapons and set them about with the task of killing everything in their path, while they sat back chortling into their bowl of popcorn as they watched the show.
Pretty much every species of fauna in Australia has evolved with a genetically-hardwired, burning desire to kill you. Or hurt you very badly.
Even the cute ones like kangaroos. Get on the wrong side of Skippy and he will rear up on that jaunty tail of his and box the shit out of you in a manner so fierce it would flatten Mike Tyson in a non-rigged title fight.
Just last night, two people I know Facebook-posted accounts of their close encounters with deadly Australian fauna. One of them came across a brown snake while they were out cycling and the other one went all Steve Irwin on a male Funnel Web Spider, capturing it in a Chinese takeaway container only later to be informed that those suckers can chomp through plastic like it was san choy bow.
This is the reality of every day life in Australia : dodging native species that want to hurt you, for no other reason than the fact that they can.
Even ostensibly harmless suburban bird populations want your blood. Magpies and plovers will merrily swoop down and attack you in vigorous defense of their offspring, the helicopter parents of the bird world with delusions of fancy that the world gives a crap about their kids and a burning desire to defend them at all costs from any perceived threat, even if that threat is totally non-existent. This is the time of year that people in my area walk the streets in possession of large tree branches, vigilante-style, to protect themselves from bands of marauding magpies at the height of breeding season.
I went for a run this morning. I stupidly forgot my hat and haven’t yet mastered the art of jogging with a small tree trunk, so I was plagued by paranoid apprehension at the thought that I could be dive-bombed by flying root-rats at any time. I vaguely remembered that magpie attacks can be deterred by direct eye contact, so I gave each and every one of them my best and most-piercing, Tony Soprano stink-eye to stop them from piercing the back of my skull with their beaks. With terrifying visions of Mummy Going Solo’s magpie apocalypse post in my head, I powered through that circuit like a woman possessed, staring down anything with feathers as I ran.
This is life in Australia, where you can’t even jog down a suburban street without having to employ mafia-style tactics of intimidation to deter a small avian species from attacking you.
And not only is our continent filled to the brim with cute and furries that want to kill you, the entire Hunger Games arena we call Australia is surrounded by oceans full of them too, so you can’t escape without running the gamut of sharks/stonefish/sting rays/box jellyfish/other stuff that will hurt, maim, maul or otherwise desire gleeful participation in your death.
And the greatest irony of all is that if you do manage to escape the arena, you’ll only get to Tasmania or New Zealand, so you might as well be dead anyway.